A Jeweller to the Stars
Visit the shop owned by a ‘jeweller to the stars’. Only a few steps off Charing Cross Road in Cecil Court, find the ‘jewel’ in the crown in Christopher St James’ jewellery shop at number 12. His front window is mesmerising, with stunning shimmering treasures on display.
When we look—what do we see? The Amazing World of M.C. Escher
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) was known for creating some of the most memorable graphic images of the 20th century. Although his work is less well known today, he is best remembered for iconic record jackets and posters which hung on the walls of hippies in the 1960s. It is somewhat odd that despite his artistic reputation the only Escher print owned in Britain today is the mesmerising Day and Night, 1938, in the Hunterian collection at Glasgow University. Today we are most fortunate to be able to examine Escher’s compelling visions in a retrospective exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Dennis Severs’ House: 18 Folgate Street
Setting the Scene
This is the story of an American who fell in love with England even before he left his home town. His name is Dennis Severs. He was a
young Californian who pursued a unique and passionate vision of life in Britain long before he ever came to live in London. By the age of seventeen, Dennis had absorbed visions of England while watching black and white adaptations of Charles Dickens stories on television.
Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity
The Victorian artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema is famous for his gorgeous paintings of domestic interiors set in classical antiquity. Born in 1835 in the northern Netherlands, he trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and was already an established artist by the time he settled with his family in London in 1870. Tadema’s work is remarkable for its technical skill, detail, perspective and sumptuous rendering of textiles, tiles and marble. His scenes of luxury and decadence have a recognisable signature style.
BLOWN AWAY – The Art of Studio Glass
The London Glassblowing Gallery- a mere stone’s throw from the Shard on Bermondsey Street. It nestles in an original corner of 18th-century London – no tower block in sight. Established by Peter Layton in 1976, the gallery is one of the leading glassmaking workshops in Europe. This year Peter, together with fellow artists and gallery staff, celebrate a double anniversary. Glasses will clink in honour of Peter’s 80th birthday plus 40 years as a designer-maker and mentor to aspiring glassmakers. He enjoys the distinction of being the ‘grand old master of studio glass’.
Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture
The current exhibit at Tate Modern, Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture presents a retrospective of some 100 of his abstract works. He pioneered kinetic art and evolved a radically modern approach described by critics as ‘drawings in space’. Calder (1898-1976) is best known for inventing mobiles in wire and sheet metal but over the course of his long artistic career he redefined the meaning of sculpture.
Bohemian Chic in London and Paris
Soho was a seedy area back in London’s swinging sixties. Bohemian artists, writers and poets frequented the coffee bars and jazz joints. Thea Porter arrived in London from Beirut in 1966 and opened her boutique on Greek Street in Soho just as exotic non-Western and hippie clothing was becoming fashionable. Meanwhile In Paris, Sonia Delaunay was already an established artist enjoying success as a painter, fashion and textile designer.
A VICTORIAN OBSESSION
This is a unique opportunity to see fifty-two remarkable paintings on loan from the private collection of Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, a wealthy Mexican art collector with the largest Victorian art collection outside Great Britain. Daniel Robbins, Senior curator at Leighton House, has described the exhibition as an opportunity to show paintings which have seldom if ever been exhibited before. They are by the most celebrated Victorian artists, many of whom were Leighton’s friends and contemporaries. Six paintings by Leighton are on display, four of them back ‘home’ to the house in which they were painted. A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón collection at Leighton House Museum. 14 November 2014 – 29 March 2015. Open every day except Tuesday, 10.00am …
The Enduring Legacy of William Morris
One of the greatest Victorian artist-craftsmen and visionaries, William Morris (1834- 1896), is the subject of the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Fiona MacCarthy, the biographer of Morris and design historian, has curated a show that looks far beyond his wallpaper and textile designs.
Art for the Masses or Painting by the Yard (plus a delightful personal discovery)
The exhibition can be read as a movement about democratising art in the form of textile design and manufacture in the twentieth century. Established artists designed textiles which were mass produced, accessible and affordable for ordinary people. They revolutionised 20th century textile design and stimulated the production of fabrics which were sold in large quantities for clothing and interior furnishings.
The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels
Steeped in mystery, magic and history, the discovery of the Cheapside Hoard in 1912 is best described as ‘striking gold’. Currently on view at the Museum of London, this is the story of chance discovery, which happened when buildings dating back to1667 were being demolished at 30-32 Cheapside in the City of London. Workmen broke through a brick cellar with their picks and shovels and noticed something glistening in the soil. The glints turned out to be a remarkable cache of some 500 extraordinary jewels and gemstones dating from the 17th century and some 1300 years back to the Byzantine period.
Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900
The National Gallery’s current exhibition, Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 explores changing visual conventions in portrait painting at the turn of the twentieth century. Throughout this period liberal and democratic reforms were ushered in by the Ausgleich (Compromise) of 1867.
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
When you become acquainted with the history and varied activities of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths you can indulge your appreciation of jewellery and precious metal articles. The Goldsmiths’ Company preserves a unique heritage. It received its first royal charter in 1327 and is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London. As a medieval guild for the goldsmith trade, the Company was established to support and regulate the hallmarking of precious metal articles
A Diversity of American Art Comes to London – Spring 2013
This spring four of London’s major galleries are exhibiting a remarkably diverse array of American artists’ work. You will find American Indian Portraits by George Caitlin at the National Portrait Gallery, Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscape Oil Sketches at the National Gallery, George Bellows: An American Realist at the Royal Academy of Arts and Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern.
Visit the Wonderful Refurbished William Morris Gallery
The new tea room in the refurbished William Morris Gallery has a glass roof etched with one of Morris’ most elegant designs, ‘Thistle’. Light pours through the glass and the atmosphere is calm and welcoming. Sitting there visitors can enjoy their tea and look out at the beautiful Lloyd Park Gardens. The restoration of this graceful Grade II listed Georgian villa contains an archive consisting of over 10,000 objects. It is the best and largest Morris collection in the world.
A Visual Documentary of Queen Elizabeth II’s Sixty years on the Throne
The National Portrait Gallery exhibition, ‘The Queen: Art & Image’, documents the way in which Queen Elizabeth II has been portrayed through the six decades of her historic reign. The exhibit aims to present a progressive dialogue between traditional portraits and a multiplicity of media images. It brings together a variety of royal representations including formal portraiture, official photographs, media pictures and several unconventional responses by contemporary artists.
British Olympic Design: 1948 – 2012
With barely four months before the 2012 Olympic Games begin, London is in the throes of final preparations. The city feels slightly frantic at the moment. It feels as if everyone is working hard to welcome visitors and athletes from all corners of the world. What must not be ignored, of course, are the years of planning and all the behind-the-scenes work done by extraordinarily gifted designers and architects working in a variety of fields.
ART in Winfield House – The US Ambassador’s Residence in Regent’s Park
Imagine what it would be like to live in a home furnished with your favourite contemporary American art. Well, that is exactly what the American Ambassador and his wife, Mr. Louis and Mrs. Marjorie Susman, have done at the US Ambassador’s residence in London. Their residence, Winfield House in Regent’s Park, is one of the grandest mansions in London. Set in twelve and a half acres, it features the second largest private garden in central London after Buckingham Palace.
The gifted graphic artist Edward McKnight Kauffer was a pioneer in every sense of the word. Perhaps better known in England than in his American homeland, he was strongly influenced by different forms of modernist movements in art. Significantly, he understood the importance of commercial art in the early years of the twentieth century and his uncompromising graphic designs bridged the divide between fine art the art of advertising.
Collecting Victorian Jewellery
For thousands of years jewellers have crafted gemstones and natural materials to create remarkably decorative and symbolic forms of adornment. And throughout the ages women and men have worn jewellery to display status, fashion, celebrate events, express mourning or even to convey intimate messages. Victorian jewellery exhibits all of these meanings in an exceptionally wide array of materials and designs.
Look through the Keyhole into the GEFFRYE MUSEUM
This small gem of a museum is set in the former almshouses built in 1714 by Sir Robert Geffrye. A wealthy merchant, Geffrye was made Master of the Ironmongers’ Company in 1667, knighted in 1673 and Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1685. Step through the door of the Geffrye Museum and begin a journey which explores 400 years of English middle class domestic interiors – from 1600 to the present day.
American Eye: The Life & Work of Norman Rockwell – A Visual Documentary
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was America’s best-loved and most prolific twentieth century illustrator. His career spanned nearly seventy years and has left us with a legacy of over 4,000 original works. Even as a young man he had a unique gift for observing and capturing the visual drama, humour and homespun lives of ordinary Americans. At the tender age of 16 he had his first commission to illustrate Christmas cards and by 1912 even more commissions came his way.
Collectors’ Focus: Japanese Ceramics
Japanese porcelain with good provenance offers a prime area for collectors, while the market for contemporary Japanese ceramics is heating up.
Claire Baker: Ceramicist & Assemblage Artist
This ia an account of Claire’s journey into the art world and find out how she has been so successful just one year after completing her degree course in 3D Design Ceramics. We met and she told me her story which began when a tutor introduced her to the American assemblage artist, Joseph Cornell (1903-1972).
Artist and Architect Create A ‘Private Palace of Art’: Leighton House
Fredric, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) was one of the most prominent Victorian artists of his day. Handsome and famous, he enjoyed prestige and status amongst royalty and the upper echelons of London’s cultural circles. His home, the Leighton House Museum, is tucked away off Kensington High Street on the edge of Holland Park. Itconceals an immense variety of hidden treasures. And amongst these treasures none is more beguiling than the famous Arab Hall.
The Victoria and Albert’s Stunning New Ceramics Galleries
A magical atmosphere pervades the new ceramics galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum. After more than five years in the planning and construction, the refurbished area opened in September 2009. Now the public can enjoy a stroll through a chain of seven galleries which tell stories about centuries of ceramic history, diverse cultures and techniques of production.
They can be addictive whether you are buying or selling or just looking
Some years ago I sat through an Art Deco furniture auction in one of the most prestigious auction houses in central London. You could feel energy and tension surging through the room. Bids were sky-high–often more than the estimates quoted in the £30 catalogue. Today many high-end auction houses tell a different story.
Stories in Silver and Gold
London is bursting with venues for lovers of silver and gold, be they avid collectors or just curious browsers. There is always a bumper crop of specialist venues to visit – with prices ranging from modest to mega.
If You Love Antiques – You’ll Love The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair
If you are feeling blue, remember London’s superb antique fairs are still up and running. Make a date to visit one of the best – the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in the marquee, Battersea Park in April. The warm and relaxed atmosphere of this event is bound to cheer you up and may even inspire you to have a bit of a flutter.
The Art of the Poster – A Century of Design
Come on down to Covent Garden where the London Transport Museum is celebrating one hundred years of original poster art – a century of design excellence. You will see sixty posters chosen from an archive of nearly 5000. Each one was commissioned from fine artists and graphic designers to publicise the Capital’s public transport network.
New Yorker New Yorker: The Life and Art of Saul Steinberg
NEW YORKER STYLE – Unmasking the Remarkable Visions of Saul Steinberg
Saul Steinberg is perhaps best known as an artist for The New Yorkerhe where he created eighty-nine covers, numerous drawings and cartoons throughout his nearly sixty years with the magazine.
Dreams Do Come True – The Story of the Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection
Some dreams come true, some do not. This is the story about how the dreams of Mary Wilson and three teenage African-American girls, the Supremes, came true. Set in the context of the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, video & archival material provide the background. Glamour and fame characterise the rags-to-riches career of the Supremes. Their wardrobe of slinky, satin and sequined stage costumes is unmissable.
American Art Exhibitions: ‘Coming of Age: American Art: 1850s-1950s’ and ‘The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock’
‘Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s’ reveals the complex and fascinating evolution of American artistic styles & culture at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
‘The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock’ Features around 150 outstanding prints by 74 leading modern American artists at the British Museum.
Henry Moore at Kew
Kew Gardens, a 300 acre World Heritage site, provides the perfect setting for twenty-eight of Henry Moore’s large-scale sculptures. Monumental best describes this exhibition. Reputedly the greatest British sculptor of the 20th century, Moore wanted his sculptures to be displayed out-of-doors. Kew’s stunning foliage, lawns, water, architecture together with the changing seasons enhances Moore’s work.
The Language of Glass
The Language of Glass discusses Anthony Stern’s relationship with the centuries old craft of glass making. Stern ‘paints’ at the furnace where he creates decorative and functional glass objects. His sculptures are contemporary statements inspired by classical styles, the Baroque, cross-cultural themes and a diversity of contemporary forms.
Collecting History: Antiquarian Georgian and Regency Prints
17th and 18th century prints are an important source of fine art, natual history, period lifestyles, satire, genre subjects – and so much more- in the pre-photographic age.
London Underground Art: A Remarkable Heritage
London Transport enjoys a unique artistic heritage. As we move into 2007, it is appropriate to celebrate this incomparable service and explore aspects of London Transport’s design history.
Bejewelled by Tiffany
Tiffany & Co. was founded in 1837. Famous for its glamour, fine craftsmanship and creative designs, it is a uniquely American brand . This exhibition of Tiffany’s jewellery was the first of its kind. Among the notable pieces on display are Mrs. Lincoln’s set of pearl jewellery bought for her at Tiffany’s 1862 and the Tiffany Diamond designed by Schlumberger and worn by Audrey Hepburn.
Hello Photorealism – Goodbye Pop Art
Forget cartoons and huge billboards. Pop Art has moved into the wings to make way for Photorealist art. Today the popularity and importance of Photorealist art is fully established within many mainstream galleries and museums.
American Artists at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
In 2006 The Dulwich Picture Gallery hosted two exhibitions of American 19th century artists. The major exhibit, ‘Winslow Homer: Poet of the Sea’, was Homer’s first one-man show in England. The smaller show,’ In the Age of Winslow Homer: American Prints 1880-1900’, a private collection of 50 etchings, was a delightful companion piece to Homer’s paintings.
Are There Lions or Angels in Your Garden? A Look at Architectural Salvage
Reclamation is big business. Today there is a fashionable trend for using original or reproduction architectural antique salvage in gardens.
A Shoppers’ Private Paradise: The London Silver Vaults
Silver has been treasured through the centuries for its lustrous beauty and high intrinsic value. Today, more than ever, fine antique silverware remains highly sought after by anyone with a discerning eye for beauty and exquisite craftsmanship.
Glorious Couture: An Exhibition of Royal Wedding Dresses
The exhibition, ‘A Century of Queen’s Wedding Dresses 1840-1947’, tells the story of one hundred years of memorable royal wedding gowns. The venue was at Kensington Palace in 2003 where five life size replica (queen look-alikes) mannequins wore the original Queen’s wedding dresses. We get to peek behind-the-scenes and learn about textiles, designers and the royals’ fashion history.